FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Commissioners received an update on the 911 emergency that is plaguing the Broward Sheriff’s Office and led up to a shouting match between Sheriff Gregory Tony and a county commissioner the last time the issue was brought up.
Commissioners are taking action, saying they needed a short-term fix, for now.
They voted Tuesday to increase BSO’s communication budget by up to $4 million to help 911 call centers.
“None of us were told by the sheriff’s office that this was a problem,” said Commissioner Steve Geller. “We gave them what they asked for for dispatch in last year’s budget.”
Added Broward Mayor Michel Udine: “It’s a very stressful job. I’ve been to these centers.”
Emergency call takers in Broward have been walking off the job, with more than 80 positions currently open. That led to serious problems, like one man in Hollywood who couldn’t reach 911 as his home just burned down.
Commissioners learned of the shortages through the media, not from the sheriff, and things got heated as he asked for more money to retain staff.
He finally got that money Tuesday, which will be spread out for the remainder of this budget as the county works with consulting company Fitch and Associates to analyze operations and suggest how and who should best run the system.
“We need to have the data,” said Geller.